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What is faith?
Story 1 - Blondin
In the late 1800’s there was a famous French tightrope walker called Charles Blondin. Blondin’s greatest act of fame came in June of 1859 when he attempted to become the first person to cross a tightrope stretched over 400 metres across the mighty Niagara Falls. As he walked 50m above the falls he would do a different daring feat - once in a sack, on stilts, on a bicycle, in the dark, and once he even carried a stove and cooked an omelette!
On one amazing occasion he walked across blindfolded and pushing a wheelbarrow. When he reached the other side, the crowd’s applause was louder than the roar of the falls! Blondin suddenly stopped and addressed his audience: "Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?" The crowd enthusiastically shouted, "Yes, yes, yes. You are the greatest tightrope walker in the world. You can do anything!"
“Okay," said Blondin, "Get in the wheelbarrow ...." But no-one did.
Sometimes faith means having real trust.
Story 2 – Get some lessons
There was a man who desperately wanted to get his license. So before he went for his driving test he got down on his knees and prayed fervently. “Lord You know that I need my license, please help me pass”. The man went for his driving test but failed.
A month later he tried again. Again he spent much time with the Lord. He asked for peace and wisdom and that he would get a sympathetic driving tester. He asked for the wether to be good and for all to go well. The man went for his test, but failed again.
The next month came around, so the man got on his knees. Before he was about to pray he heard a voice from heaven.
“I know that you are going to pray about your driving test before you ask Me again I have something to say. Can you please get some driving lessons.”
Sometimes faith means putting specific actions into place.
Let me ask the question again. What is faith? These two examples highlight two types of faith.
Faith which leads to trust.
Faith which leads to action.
We need to understand that both types of faith are found in the Bible.
In Paul’s letters in the Bible Paul mainly focuses on the first type of faith. This is faith which comes not because we think that we are good enough because we follow a set of rules and laws – but faith which comes because we trust that Jesus has called us into His family despite our short-comings.
James also believes in this type of faith – faith which leads to trust. However, in his letter, James emphasises more the second type of faith – faith which leads to action.
Let me show you what I mean by getting you to turn to
James 2:14-26 (read)
James is very clear about what he wants to focus on.
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?
Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do.
Do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?
Faith without deeds is dead.
When you put it all together like that … well the message stands out in a way that cannot be avoided. We must have a faith that works.
Now, as we think about it, we might start to get a little worried.
Some people in Christian circles stand on street corners handing our tracts while trying to engage members of the public in a
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